Creating quotes and transferring them into invoices (QBO)

If your business involves providing quotes to your potential customers before they make a decision to buy, it can save you time to create these quotes in cloud software. You can very easily transfer your quote into an invoice once it has been approved, and this will post it into your accounts for you, without the need to re-enter the information.

This article looks at how you this process works in QuickBooks Online, where the software refers to quotes as “estimates”.

For those of you familiar with QuickBooks Online, you’ll know that you can click the “+” button at the top of your screen to create a wide range of transactions within the software.


Create an estimate within the software (this is under the sales menu from the “+” button), entering the customer’s name, the product/service and the proposed selling price. There’s even a box to add a discount if you’re trying to win over a new customer by giving an introductory offer! 


Once you’re happy with your ‘estimate’, you can save it as it is, and send it to the customer later, or if you have an email address saved, send it  out to your customer straight away. In this example, I’ve given Albert Goodman 14 days to make up its mind about the party!

Assuming Albert Goodman is happy with the estimate for the party, I can now transfer this estimate into a sales invoice.

Head to the sidebar menu, hit transactions and then sales, this should bring up the following screen, where you can see my estimate at the top of the list.

QuickBooks Online has tried to make this process as stress-free as possible, and you can see the useful “start invoice” link under the “action” heading. In my example, the status is pending, but this is because I haven’t sent my estimate anywhere. Ideally, the status of your estimate should be active.

To turn my approved estimate into an invoice, click through to the “start invoice” action and it will bring up the “create invoice” screen, with all the fields from the estimate pre-populated.

unnamed-1You can also see under the customer name “1 linked transaction”. This is a hyperlink, and if you click it a pop-up will tell you which estimate this invoice is associated with! Assuming there are no changes to the invoice since the estimate all you need to do is save and send your invoice out to your customer! Of course, if there are any changes, it’s much quicker to tweak the price here than it is to set up a new invoice.